Anthony Di Iorio, one of ethereum’s eight cofounders and an early bitcoin adopter, has said he’s quitting the world of cryptocurrency.
The news, first reported by Bloomberg, comes after a huge bitcoin, ethereum and cryptocurrency price rally that’s seen the combined crypto market soar to well over $1 trillion (subscribe now to Forbes’ CryptoAsset & Blockchain Advisor and discover crypto blockbusters poised for 1,000% gains).
Di Iorio, who helped kickstart the development of ethereum in 2013 as the project’s financier and was named by Forbes as a borderline billionaire in 2018, said he doesn’t “feel necessarily safe in this space” and warned “a lot of times [cryptocurrency is] not … what the world needs.”
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“[Crypto is] really a small percentage of what the world needs,” Di Iorio told Bloomberg, adding he wants to “to diversify to not being a crypto guy, but being a guy tackling complex problems. I will incorporate crypto when needed, but a lot of times, it’s not.”
Meanwhile, the decision to walk away from the crypto space was “a good 20%” down to concerns over his personal safety, he told Coindesk. Since 2017, Di Iorio has had a security team that meant someone always traveling with or meeting him wherever he goes.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, which have long promised users to they can “be your own bank,” have become a target for criminals and thieves as prices soar many thousands of percent making many early adopters hugely wealthy. The relatively anonymous nature of bitcoin and crypto has also meant law enforcement is often unable to retrieve stolen funds.
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According to reports, Di Iorio is looking to selling his company Decentral, a Toronto-based innovation hub and software developer, to start a philanthropic foundation in the next year. He’s also reportedly involved in a zero-emission vehicle company while consulting for Paraguay congress member and bitcoin enthusiast Carlos Rejala.
Decentral could be valued at “hundreds of millions” but Di Iorio said he’s ruled out selling the company for cryptocurrency and would rather offload it for traditional currency or equity in another company.
Over the last year, the ethereum price has surged amid an explosion of interest in so-called decentralized finance (DeFi)—the idea that many traditional banking services such as lending and insurance can be recreated with crypto technology and usually on the ethereum blockchain.